The 2021 season is underway and the NFC East appears to be wide open, a year after Washington took the division crown with a sub .500 record.
This page serves as your one-stop-shop for information on the NFC East that should lead you to the most intelligent bets. Included is a recap of the 2020 season, what can be expected in 2021, NFC East division history, and how you can bet on division winners.
However, before diving headlong into putting all your money down on a winner, consider your options. Shop around at several outlets to find the most optimal odds. With that said, let’s take a look at the NFC East.
2021 NFC East odds
2020 NFC East results
It wasn’t pretty and the finish was subject to controversy, but the Washington Football Team came out on top. Their season was cluttered by quarterback uncertainty, with the team eventually moving off former first-round pick Dewayne Haskins in favor of Comeback Player of the Year Alex Smith. Washington’s young corps showed that the team is headed in the right direction, led by Chase Young– the 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year– and Antonio Gibson– a third-round pick who exceeded expectations. Their pass rush was feared leaguewide, 47 sacks (sixth) and generating the ninth-most pressure in the NFL. Terry McLaurin also broke out as a star receiver for the team. Washington also overcame +1100 preseason odds to win the division (last).
The runner up New York Giants were on the receiving end of the aforementioned controversy surrounding the division winner. The Giants were bumped from the NFC Playoffs after the Eagles lost Week 17 to Washington; the issue arose as Doug Pederson pulled the starting quarterback for seemingly no benefit to the team and New York accused Pederson of throwing the game. Regardless, the Giants finished 2020 with just six wins behind an offense severely hobbled by the loss of Saquon Barkley. It was also a telling year for sophomore Daniel Jones, who again led the NFL in turnovers. 2020 proved that New York is still a ways away from contending.
Up until Week 5, the NFC East was the Dallas Cowboys’ to lose; Dallas looked to be the clear favorite before Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending injury and their offense came to a screeching halt. Defensively, Dallas was a disaster, finishing 28th in points allowed per game (29.6) and 21st in defensive efficiency. Ezekiel Elliott had his least productive season yet behind a thinned offensive line. Injury was the word of the season– a season the Cowboys look to bury.
The last-place finisher, the Philadelphia Eagles, were one of the biggest flops of 2020. They were slated 9.5 wins before the season started before finishing with six wins and a top-10 draft pick (that they traded to Miami). Like many other teams in the NFC East, the Eagles struggled with finding a reliable quarterback; Carson Wentz put up his least efficient year of his career and it took most of the season for Philly to pivot to rookie Jalen Hurts. They also struggled with finding a reliable pass catcher, a problem they addressed in the Draft. The Eagles are looking more like a rebuild project than a fluke and they fired Doug Pederson following the Week 17 controversy.
2021 NFC East outlook and predictions
With Dak Prescott expected back and healthy, the Cowboys () are favorites to win the NFC East. Free agency was largely quiet for the Cowboys, but defensive deficiencies were addressed with the signing of Keanu Neal and the drafting of Micah Parsons. It’s a make-or-break year for Mike McCarthy and the rest of the coaching staff who are on just their second season. However, it’s expected that the return of Prescott should be enough to vault Dallas back into the conversation in the NFC.
Washington seemed to be a quarterback away from being a serious contender in the league, but they came away from the NFL Draft without their next franchise guy. Instead, they signed journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, who helped lead the Dolphins to 10 wins a season ago and proved to be a competent gamble. The addition of Fitzpatrick should provide a boost to McLaurin, who is on the verge of becoming a star in the league. Rookie Jamin Davis should boost an already-studded front seven. It wouldn’t be surprising to see WFT exceed or at the very least meet their expectations for this year.
For the first time since taking over as the Giants’ general manager, Dave Gettleman traded back in the draft. Despite the move, it was clear they moved down their list of players at position of need (wide receiver) instead of picking best available. Defensively, New York is set; they reached an extension with stud defensive tackle Leonard Williams after finishing last season top-10 in scoring defense (22.3 points allowed per game). They also signed star Kenny Golladay to help Daniel Jones out in the passing game. Tolerance for failure is low in New York– successors to Tom Coughlin haven’t lasted more than two seasons with losing records and Joe Judge is looking at season two.
That leaves the Philadelphia Eagles who, as mentioned, are looking like a rebuild. Jalen Hurts may be the quarterback of the future, but his sample size from 2020 was miniscule. Former Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirriani is the next man up as head coach. Philly also rolled the dice on Heisman winner DeVonta Smith in the first round, but the road back to relevancy is a long one– one that won’t be completed in a year.
Past NFC East division winners
|2020||Washington Football Team||7-9|
|2011||New York Giants*||9-7|
* Super Bowl champion
How to bet on NFL division winners
You have your info, you know your pick, now what do you do with it? To echo earlier advice, shop around. Sportsbooks offer varying prices on everything, so we highly recommend looking at every book to grab the best number available.
When reading an odds table, there’s several numbers of note. The first is the odds, which tells you who is favored (lower numbers are favored) and how much a successful bet would earn you. For example, a $100 bet on Dallas (+125) would win you $125 with a total payout of $225. A $100 bet on the Giants (+350) would pay $350 for a total payout of $450.
Next is the handle, which tells you what percentage of the total amount bet on the NFC East division winner each team commands. For example, the Washington Football Team have 22% of the handle– meaning 22% of all money bet on the NFC East winner has gone to the Football Team. Last is the percentage of bets, which refers to the number of bets– not the amount– wagered on each team. The Eagles have 14% of all bets, which doesn’t reflect how much was bet (the Eagles have 18% of the handle, meaning larger betting amounts are being placed on the Eagles).
A popular tactic when it comes to a division as tight and uncertain as the NFC East, it might be worth hedging your bet. “Hedging” refers to placing a bet on two teams– one you think is the winner and one you want as insurance to win that bet money back. For example, if you put $100 down on Dallas (+125) to take the division, it might be worth throwing another $50 down on Washington (+260) too. A $100 bet on the Cowboys (+125) would have a total payout of $225. Should Washington (+260) win, that $50 bet would pay out a total of $180, covering your original bet but is small enough to still reap a $45 win should the original bet succeed. Just make sure you’re shopping around for the best lines to ensure you get the most out of your dollar.
NFL division betting previews
|AFC East||NFC East|
|AFC North||NFC North|
|AFC South||NFC South|
|AFC West||NFC West|